EPA makes it difficult to grow teff in the U.S.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned pesticides from being used on teff in the U.S. making it difficult for farmers in Oregon and other states to grow it. Teff, a cereal that is native to Ethiopia, is becoming popular in the U.S., because it is glutton free and rich in nutrients.

The following is an EPA regulation that is posted on Oregon’s Department of Agriculture’s web site.

Pesticide Use on Teff

Teff is a relatively new crop in Oregon and in the USA. Teff is an animal feed and human food crop that is grown for forage, hay and grain.

For any pesticide product to be legally applied to a food or feed crop, a tolerance for the pesticide active ingredient on a specific crop must be established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prior to authorizing its use. A tolerance is the maximum amount of a pesticide allowed to remain in or on foods at harvest.

Only EPA has the authority to establish the classification of a crop and to establish pesticide tolerances. Currently, the ONLY tolerance on teff is for glyphosate (found in products such as Round-up Power Max and Buccaneer Plus) and uses are limited.

There are no broadleaf herbicides, fungicides or insecticides labeled for use on teff. Specifically, there are no pesticide tolerances, or labeled uses, for 2,4-D, dicamba, or other broadleaf weed control products on teff. Therefore, any use of products containing 2,4-D or dicamba on teff is not legal. (Weedmaster and Latigo are examples of products that are combinations of 2,4-D and dicamba). This situation is likely to change in the next one or two years when EPA plans to include
teff in one or more of the crop groups indicated below.

Teff is currently classified by the EPA as a MISCELLANEOUS COMMODITY. At this time, it is NOT classified by EPA in Crop Group 15 (Cereal Grains); Crop Group 16 (Forage, Fodder and Straw of Cereal Grains); or Crop Group 17 (Grass Forage, Fodder, and Hay Group).

Unless there is a tolerance for a particular chemical on a specific food or feed crop, use of that pesticide on that specific crop is not legal. When tolerances are granted for teff, it does not automatically mean that it is legal to use any product that may have cereal grain or hay on the label. The crop teff must still appear on the label. If you do not see use directions for a specific crop on a pesticide label, then that use is NOT allowed.

Questions: Call Janet Fults or Rose Kachadoorian at (503) 986-4635.